Diversity In The Classroom

sign that says the future of the world is in my classroom today

The sign is from Hobby Lobby, and the pottery with the pink polka dots is from Target!

Growing up, I would always get so excited and happy when my teachers had books, images, or anything that featured someone who looked like me. I am half African American, a quarter Caucasian, and a quarter Filipina; I have what I would call caramel skin and curly dark brown hair. When I felt represented and seen through resources my teachers had, my interest in whatever it was would peak a little more. The feeling of being represented and seen was a huge thing for me as a child, and still is to this day. Unfortunately, the feeling of being represented and seen in my classrooms didn’t really happen that often. As a kid, I vowed that when I had my own classroom one day, I would make it a classroom that was inclusive and all about diversity.

bulletin board on black background that says every story matters

Borders are from School Girl Style & Bulletin Board paper is from Better Than Paper.  I tore out pages from an old book and laminated them to use as the background for the letters. I used black construction paper and a die cutter to make the letters! Then, I glued the letters onto each page with a gluestick. I had that greenery garland already (from Target), and decided to add it to the board as well. Super easy and a money saver!

When people (specifically referring to kids) feel like they are being seen, heard, and represented, it can help make them feel valued, loved, and accepted. Lisa M. López and Mariela Páez stated that “Children are better able to learn when the classroom climate is positive, warm, and inviting. Part of being welcomed is seeing your own language and culture reflected throughout all aspects of the classroom.” Can you imagine how impactful it is for a student to feel seen and represented in your classroom? And how that could impact their learning and how they feel in your classroom? Being inclusive is all about being open and accepting of other cultures (all aspects of it), displaying people from different cultures around your classroom (through pictures, books, what you teach, etc.), and teaching about the importance of being inclusive and diversified and what that means.

Cursive letters by @lettersfrommikelle

One of the ways that I vowed to show diversity and inclusion in my classroom was by having images on my walls of different famous figures of all cultures/races/ethnicities/religions, along with books that have characters of those different diverse areas. I also found it important for my chapter and picture books to discuss diverse themes and discuss those together as a class. Themes such as adoption, divorce, immigration, death of loved ones — there are children in our class who are dealing with such things at home in their personal life. By bringing light to these topics, these children feel seen and heard, and they know that I am there for them, no matter what they are going through.

sign language bulletin board spells family

Borders are from School Girl Style & Bulletin Board paper is from Better Than Paper.  To make the letters, I just used construction paper and a die cutter, then laminated them. For the sign language letters, I printed off each letter and colored them with the Colors of the World markers from Crayola. They also got laminated, and for both the letters and sign language letters, I spray painted them with a clear acrylic matte coating spray paint. The “Let’s Grow Together” sign is from Marshalls!

Diversity doesn’t only mean being inclusive of other races/ethnicities/religions, it also means being inclusive about others’ languages. I have the word “family” in sign language in my classroom, and I am in the process of adding other languages of words throughout my classroom. There are kids who may speak a different language at home and seeing their home language represented in the classroom could be a huge deal for them. 

book cover that says our class is family

The large black paper clip that is holding the book Our Class is a Family, the fake potted plant, and the gold candle holder are all from Target. My borders are from School Girl Style and bulletin board paper is from Better Than Paper.

I am trying to be the change and trying to be the type of inclusive and diverse teacher that I so wished for (and needed) growing up. It’s so important to me that ALL of my children in the classroom feel welcome in my classroom, that they matter and are loved, and the diversity each of them brings adds value to our classroom family. Being able to see and feel that inclusion is so vital to helping our students, both socially, emotionally, and academically.

1 Comment

  1. KC and the Sunshine on October 22, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    This is wonderful! Thank you so much for a practical list of tips and tools. 🙂

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